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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Summer Comes to Spinningfields: Sweltering Times at Manchester's Alchemist and Artisan

So, summer has hit Manchester once more, and I promise I'm really not one to complain about this. I am an absolute natural at sitting outside on a balmy evening, nursing (/necking) a glass of ice-cold Sauvignon Blanc and pretending to hold an intellectual conversation whilst secretly looking at boys in shorts from behind my sunglasses. The trouble is, Manchester still seems a little taken by surprise when summer turns up at around the same time every year; much as we like the idea, we're not always well-equipped to deal with temperatures hovering dangerously in the twenties - and nowhere was this more apparent than on a sultry night in Spinningfields last week.

First stop was The Alchemist for a Gin Master Class. Now, if you've ever been to the Spinningfields Alchemist, you'll know it's a bright, sunny sort of place with lots of windows...and therein lay the problem. The event itself was lovely, and at £15 offered good value with a welcome cocktail (I chose a Garden Martini - a really lovely combination of gin, elderflower, rose liqueur, lemon juice, sugar and lavender foam) and talks on two different gins, Haymans and Beefeater, plus lots of gin samples. Unfortunately, it was just too hot for comfort, and a number of people left halfway through - their loss, as not only did I discover that Beefeater gin is a lot nicer than I thought, but the air conditioning also kicked in around this point. Still, it was a lot of fun, and I will definitely look out for the next Alchemist Spirit School (particularly during less temperate times).

It was also very hot in Artisan, although when I look back over my choice of main course I am less inclined to complain. Of all the members of the Living Ventures stable, Artisan has had perhaps the most mixed reviews, including one particularly stinging one in a national newspaper - this is the second time I've eaten here though, and I like the atmosphere (although I don't think I'd brave it at a weekend, on a Wednesday night it has just the right level of business for my tastes), the friendliness of the staff, the cocktails and most of the food.

We started with a cocktail - my Quick Old Fashioned (Wild Turkey 81 stirred with a touch of gomme, bitters and garnished with an orange zest) was just the job, and certainly arrived nice and promptly. To soak up the considerable alcohol kick we also ordered some olives and a most satisfactory garlic and rosemary oil flatbread - the sort that's so crisp that shards of it fly across the table when divvied up by an incompetent like myself. Starters proper saw the only misfire - my Prawn Salad with Guacamole was fine as individual components (particularly the pleasingly creamy guac) but just didn't really work as a dish, with virtually no salad to counteract the richness of the avocado and the plump blandness of the prawns. The Houmous with sugar spiced nuts was a triumph though - we loved that the nuts came on the side and could be added to give some extra crunch, and the crisp flatbread (a close relative of the one we'd already eaten) added another element of textural contrast.

On to the mains then, and as it was a good thousand degrees in the restaurant by now, I quite obviously chose the Braised lamb shank with cannellini and butter beans (£16.95) from the Wood Oven menu. Despite its inherent winteriness it was delicious and I loved every mouthful - a nicely fatty shank, full of flavour, falling off the bone into a sea of garlicky, tomatoey, herby beans. Meanwhile, my vegetarian companion was finding it harder to choose a suitable option. Meat-free options are a little limited here, and whilst the wood fired pizza with mixed mushrooms, rosemary, thyme, mozzarella and truffle oil was fairly exemplary (almost up there with the hallowed Gusto pizza), he was starting to take on the look of a man who has eaten his own body weight in bread items and could do with a lie down. We had, of course, made matters worse for ourselves by ordering some entirely unnecessary but utterly irresistible crinkle cut chips as well.

I was the only one greedy enough for a dessert, and went for another dainty item - the salted caramel banana with gingerbread ice-cream at £4.50. This was just lovely, a warm banana swimming in caramel sauce with some cooling ice cream on the side; I would prefer it served without its skin, but purely because some precious caramel sauce adhered to it and I was too embarrassed to lick it off in the middle of a busy restaurant.

Overall then, a good night, and one that for me perfectly sums up our fair city. It might have been a hot, steamy night and I might have been wearing a floaty dress and sandals, but when you order a lamb shank and then catch the tram home there's really no doubting the fact you're definitely in Manchester.

- The Alchemist is at 3 Hardman Street, Manchester M3 3HF and Artisan is on Avenue North, 18-22 Bridge Street, Manchester M3 3BZ. We were invited as guests of the restaurant and were not asked to pay for our food or drink, but were asked only for our honest feedback.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Another Guest Post, in which Nicole and I are Dazzled by the Lady Boys of Bangkok and get SERIOUS Hair Envy

Now, I do realise that it may seem - to the casual observer at least - that Nicole has been doing all the work here. As I've been doing a bit of moonlighting for Manchester's Finest recently, she has selflessly stepped up to the plate - but I've made her a new badge saying "Arts Correspondent", so everybody's happy. Here's her take on this year's Lady Boys show...and as no photographs could be taken during the performance I'm afraid you'll have to go along for yourself to see how beautiful they really are!

It's that fabulous, glamorous time of year again. No, I don't mean the Pimm's 'n' fedora accessorised-occasion that is Wimbledon (although, judging by the frequency with which the BBC camera operator panned to the lovely Kim Sears and her impeccable blow dry during Andy Murray's match yesterday, one could be forgiven for thinking this was the spectacle to which I'm referring). I mean it's time to don your very best silk, and sling your sequinned cover-up over your shoulder as you trot down to the Sabai Pavilion on Oxford Road for the Lady Boys of Bangkok's latest extravaganza, Red Hot Kisses.

Surely Manchester's most-anticipated of glam summer events, last year's Glamorous Amorous, was so fabulous The Lady Boys couldn't possibly top it? Well, they have outdone themselves with Red Hot Kisses. During the two-hour long show one professional performance segues easily into another, the ensemble-dance-followed-by-solo-comedy-sketch-format working so well that it was time for the interval before we could catch our breaths. Both Liz and I agreed that Red Hot Kisses is cheekier, funnier and even more enjoyable than last year's show, providing us with much to be envious of. Seriously, have you seen how beautiful the Lady Boys are? Liz and I spent much of the show gazing adoringly up at the stage, in awe of the hair, the figures, the faces...sigh.

So, what can you expect from Red Hot Kisses? Opening with Kylie and closing with The Weather Girls, by way of Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry, rather fittingly, it celebrates all the Princesses of Pop. We loved the Rocky-themed rendition of Katy Perry's Roar (both of us imagined ourselves looking as immaculate after a gym session), and the medley of iconic cinema songs interspersed with the classic singalong Saturday Night at the Movies. For me the highlight was the stunning reveal of the Lady Boys during Robbie Williams' Angels, the Lady-Angels completely out-shimmering the sequins on Robbie's jacket. Oh, and for those of you who remember Simply the Best from Glamorous Amorous, it makes a welcome return this year - the Lady Boy in this turn is clearly born to play Tina Turner, and will do so at every opportunity, to riotous applause.

Red Hot Kisses: more beautiful, more elegant, sexier, funnier - what more could you want from a Lady Boys of Bangkok show? Nothing, except a pair of legs as shapely as theirs, of course. Go, and experience leg-envy. And a super-sexy, super-fun, super-glamorous evening.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Guest Post: in which my very healthiest friend Nicole is impressed by Wahu, Spinningfields

The daily grind wears us all down. The wake up, commute, work, commute, make dinner, make lunch, wind down, bed routine is one that I, for one, resent. However, for someone who is deeply suspicious of shop-bought sandwiches (ask anyone who knows me well), preparing my breakfast and lunch for the next day is a necessary evil. So what if there was an alternative to late night toiling in the kitchen, or bleary-eyed 6am searching in the fridge for something fast, fresh and nutritious? It seems my question has been answered in the form of Wahu Express Food Bar, Manchester's newest city centre eatery.

Wahu, conveniently located on Spinningfields' The Avenue, officially opened its doors on Thursday and focuses on providing city-dwelling-and-working-folk with something different - the chance to 'fill up for the day' on healthy, satisfying meals. Breakfast, served until 10.30, includes just the sort of nutritious options (Protein Porridge £2.45, Egg White Omelette £3.95) any personal trainer would approve of, whereas the Lunch Boxes require you to choose a base, grilled protein, extras and dressing, for £5.95. Dinner is served from 4pm, and again, a range of flavours are available within the rice, salad, pasta and wraps categories (from £4.95).

The choose-your-own concept is not unique, but what Wahu does differently is to offer the kind of food that I would make myself. As something of a health food buff, I'm very aware of what's in my food, and what I put into my body, so Wahu is exactly the kind of 'fast food' I would go for. We weren't able to construct our own boxes at Wahu's official launch (not surprising, as this would have resulted in a flock of dithering, indecisive guests, myself included), but the friendly young servers swiftly assembled us a Morrocan Lamb salad and a Teriyaki Beef rice box from the five options available.

We both enjoyed our boxes. My lamb was tender and tasty, atop a bed of crisp mixed salad leaves and drizzled with a light, fresh and flavoursome tzatziki. Mr Nicole wolfed down his beef, murmuring approval and requests for additional beers between each mouthful. We accompanied our Dinner Boxes with low-calorie beverages - Mr Nicole found the low carb / no sugar Saint lager too light-tasting to replace his usual beer, but I enjoyed the prosecco, thrilled to later realise that it too was a light option - with all this virtuous salad and low-calorie sparkle, I was practially polishing my halo (ahem).

Later into the evening, I was able to grab a quick chat with Jamie Barr, Wahu's enterprising founder, keen to pick his brains about his new venture. 'Wahu is all about providing healthy, balanced choices to young professionals', he told me. 'I played a lot of sport at university, but when I started my career I struggled to maintain that healthy lifestyle - I was always grabbing food on-the-go'. And this is where Wahu is different: Jamie believes that rather than worrying about counting calories (and all the sugar added when the fat is removed in so many 'healthy' pre-packaged foods), people can make sensible choices with the right balance between protein, good carbohydrates and plenty of fresh vegetables.

The 'Made Fresh, Made Fast' tagline doesn't really do it justice - there really is a paucity of fresh, fast, and truly healthy food options in Manchester, and Wahu fills the sizeable gap. Customers can takeaway (and probably eat at their desk, the scourge of modern professionalism) or eat in, and enjoy the vibrant, hip design - the colourful chairs, foliage wall and the clean lines of the service area making me yearn for such features in my own kitchen. I asked Jamie about the meaning behind the name: he spent some time on a Hawaiian island where people gather to grill their food on the beach, and Wahu literally means 'social gathering'. Judging by the extensive outdoor seating area (and crossing my fingers for continued sunshine and warmth), I think Wahu Express Food Bar, with its tasty and nutritious design-your-own meals, will soon be Spinningfields' favourite place to meet up and re-fuel.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Oast House, Manchester, Where I am Pleasantly Surprised by the Delights of the Deli Board

Left to my own devices, I am prone to sticking with the same old, same old. Thus, while I have never been averse to popping into Spinningfield's Oast House for a drink, I have never got round to eating there - I've got so far as looking at the menu, and then dismissed it on the grounds that there could never really be anything to get excited about with a deli board or a kebab.

Thankfully, I have been forced to eat my words, along with said deli board. We called in on Wednesday night after the preview showing of the Kevin Cummins New Order exhibition at Manchester Photographic, and were immediately struck by how busy it was on an otherwise unremarkable midweek evening - perhaps it was the live singer knocking out pretty decent covers in the bar that had drawn the crowd, but there was a lively buzz nevertheless that suggests that they're doing a lot of things right here.

The menu is a straightforward affair, offering a pick and mix deli board option rather than traditional starters, followed by a range of rotisserie and barbecue items. Any four items from the pretty extensive selection can be had for £9.75 - including some excellently chewy Turkish flatbread - with additional choices at £2.75 each. This might seem pricy, but I hold my hands up and admit that we ordered six items plus a separate houmous board at £4.95 and found that we'd over-ordered quite dramatically - as a starter, four items would definitely be enough for two people, even if one of them was me.

The highlight of the deli board was the Coronation Chicken, an item which never fails to excite the 1970s child in me but which - as with so many guilty pleasures that you know are inherently wrong - often fails to deliver. This one was just lovely - large chunks of shredded roast chicken in a classy mayo with the right levels of spicing and sweetness. The homemade scotch egg served with piccalilli was also a big hit - a dense, sausagey cannon-ball of goodness that would probably provide a meal in itself. Our other choices - Parma ham, Greek salad, home-dried tomatoes and chorizo - were all similarly well-executed, and the houmous, served with crudites and flatbread, was a joyous affair, with a good hit of garlic and an interesting texture thanks to the inclusion of a few whole chickpeas.

So far, so impressive. Mains were less successful, for two reasons. Firstly, they both arrived when we were only halfway through the deli board, and whilst they do warn you both verbally and on the menu that food comes as and when it is ready to ensure maximum freshness, this was still a little disconcerting. I didn't want my main - a 9 oz ribeye steak with fries and garlic butter - to go cold, so I had to shuffle my plates, tackle my steak, and then essentially return to the eating of scotch eggs etc as a kind of dessert (a first, even for me). Secondly, whilst my steak had a good flavour, parts of it were slightly hard work - I always approach a ribeye prepared to chew, but sections of this generous beast were rather tougher than others, a matter not helped by the garlic butter, which had clearly imparted taste but then had disappeared, leaving me sauceless.

Back to the positives though. The fries were hot, crunchy and plentiful, and overall this dish offered satisfyingly good value at just £14.75 - it's just personal preference that I would rather pay an extra few quid and have a more tender steak. Across the table, the lamb kofta hanging kebab barely touched the sides, and although it was noted it came with fewer chips than my steak, it did come with a jaunty peri peri sauce that I purloined to overcome my own lack of dipping item - the lamb koftas were (apparently) so moist they didn't need it anyway. The staff were also pretty fantastic considering how busy it was - service was prompt and friendly, with a mistake on the wine corrected instantly and without fuss.

Overall, then, a pretty positive experience. We were invited to try the menu and were not asked to pay for our food or drink, but I will certainly drop in for a deli board or a hanging kebab next time I'm in Spinningfields - this isn't the best or most inventive food in Manchester, but The Oast House does seem a pretty good option for a relaxed lunch or dinner if you're out for a few drinks. Just be slightly careful with how much you drink - I've yet to visit the Ladies here and NOT had to request loo roll from a neighbouring cubicle...

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Grill on the Alley, Manchester: Serving Up a Splendid Sunday Lunch

In the light of all the recent publicity for Manchester House, it's easy to forget that some of the Living Ventures restaurant stable have been with us for years. One of these venerable old favourites is The Grill on the Alley, tucked away off John Dalton Street, and as with any restaurant that's been around more than a few years, it's had its share of ups and downs. Indeed, when I casually asked Twitter earlier in the day whether anyone had tried the Sunday lunch here, I was met with a mixed response in terms of quality of experience. People were interested though, and expressed a general hope that I would find a return to form on my visit - and I include myself here. I used to eat at The Grill on the Alley regularly but haven't been for years and can't even remember why - increased competition maybe? A mediocre dining experience?

Anyway, I can confirm that, based on Sunday's visit, The Grill on the Alley is right back up there as a contender. We begin with a cocktail (perfectly respectable - it was a 4.30 booking) and some bread and olives whilst we consider the menu; the bread is a dinky loaf warm from the oven, the butter is soft to the point of melting (my absolute preference in restaurant butter, following a difficult episode when a particularly unyielding pat of butter shot across the table and into my friend's lap under the impetus of my impatient knife) and the olives are, well, olives. The cocktails are both excellent: I make short work of my Chocolate and Cinnamon Refashioned (Appleton VX gold rum with chocolate liqueur, orange zest and cinnamon syrup, which slides down all too smoothly and strikes the perfect balance between spice and sweetness) and then move on to the Cucumber and Raspberry Cooler that has foolishly been left untended. This one strikes me as a perfect summer cocktail, with the combination of Beefeater gin, Chase raspberry liqueur, Monin Raspberry, fresh cucumber, raspberries, sweetened lemon juice and lemonade proving both heady and refreshing. We also order a bottle of the great value Kleine Rust Pinotage/Shiraz from Stellenbosch - I always order this when I see it on a restaurant menu as it copes with most foods and is simply a bargain at £21.

On to the food then, and for starters we go for the Blackhouse Sharing Plate: Bang Bang Chicken Skewers, Fish Cakes, Duck Spring Roll and Calamari. I consider this on the edge of being a bit dear at £14.75 but when it comes it is simply exemplary - we agree the calamari is amongst the best we've ever had in any restaurant (I can only think of an amazing meal I once had in Sorrento that would top it) thanks to the lightness of the hot, crispy, salty batter and its contrast with the tender squid within. The Bang Bang chicken has a real hit of sesame to it, the duck spring rolls are satisfyingly meaty and the fish cakes pull off that rare feat of being light and fresh whilst being substantial enough to prevent greedy girls from whining about portion size. I would happily order any of these as individual starters another time, with the added advantage of not having to share any of them.

For me, there is only one choice of main on this visit - I have been dreaming of roast beef and roast potatoes and head for the Sunday Roast menu without a second thought. The beef can be done either medium or well done, and here is where my only niggle lies - I like my beef pretty pink (ideally reclining in a pool of its own blood) but this option is not available. Still, they are catering for large numbers here and the roast is otherwise excellent - generous amounts of tender, tasty meat, outstanding roasties, a light-as-air Yorkshire pudding and side dishes of carrot and swede mash and buttered shredded cabbage. They are also quick to bring me more gravy whenever my levels drop dangerously low (which for me, is often). Meanwhile, across the table is an enticingly juicy-looking Rib-Eye steak, which has been properly grilled to produce a sticky, crusty exterior whilst remaining perfectly pink in the middle (as demonstrated in the rather inelegant photo below - this was the piece I particularly request from my friend's plate). I also eat more than my share of the accompanying chips (dipped in a very good red wine jus), although their rightful owner - who claims not to like proper chips, only fries - becomes increasingly put out and eventually builds a wall of condiments to keep me out.

Service is friendly and professional throughout, and we are entertained by a lovely man playing the piano while we eat - sadly there is no photo as they have put him downstairs, and I only see him when I go to the loo. As usual, I have to hold my hands up at this point and acknowledge that we were invited in to review and were not asked to pay for our food or drinks, but I have been a regular, paying customer here before and I fully intend to be again - the Sunday Roast in particular is great value for food of this quality at £12.95. And as were were too full for pudding (surely a world first for me), a return visit looks on the cards sooner rather than later.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Guest Blog Post, in which the Lovely Nicole is Filled with Wanderlust at Spinningfields' Thaikhun

When you think of Thailand, what comes to mind? I'm guessing stunning beaches, lush vegetation, delicious food, LadyBoys, tuk tuks,'d be forgiven for thinking this was a piece of travel writing exploring the experiences of a backpacker arriving in this popular tourist destination. But some of this is what you get when you're lucky enough to be invited to the official launch of Thaikhun in Spinningfields.

As a fan of Thai food, I was thrilled to be asked to pop along and celebrate the opening of Thaikhun - translated as 'Your Thailand', and the newest addition to the Chaophraya family. As soon as we arrived it was apparent this is no ordinary Thai restaurant - the front space accommodates rusty bicycles and an ACTUAL tuk-tuk. Anyone who's ever travelled to South East Asia, or indeed watched any intrepid travel show, would be able to associate both modes of transport as something expected during your stay. This is a restaurant that does nothing by halves.

We entered and were greeted by a beautiful lady in traditional Thai dress - we greeted her in return and she was most obliging when later in the evening, in typical tourist style and buoyed by a cocktail or two, we asked for a photograph. As soon as you step inside you are struck by the interior - a stylish mash-up of exposed industrial fittings and beach-shack chic. The more you look, the more there is to see, from vintage portraits, number plates and signs, to fishing paraphernalia and shrines. I'm reliably informed that everything comprising the unique decor was sourced from Thailand, including a bookseller's entire market stall, and the co-founder's straw hat, a nod to the restaurant's traditional roots, something Thaikhun clearly want to preserve.

The drinks were flowing and our server explained that the delicious cocktails were unique, created especially for the event. I enjoyed a surprisingly sweet and herbaceous combination of Havana rum, lime juice and pandanus leaf - the Thai name of which escapes me (perhaps testament to the generous measures *ahem*), while Mr Nicole had a beer in his clutches quicker than you can say 'Singha'. The other cocktail on offer, standing innocuously in vast glass jugs, was Mango Lassi. Usually consumed to soothe the post-spice palate, this lassi was the perfect blend of mango juice, lime juice and Vodka, and I can assure you, was so moreish I found myself needing to 'soothe' my palate on several occasions.

The canapes, well-paced, were served by lovely, friendly staff - all young and harem-pant clad, as if they were off to a Full Moon party. Beautifully presented in cocktail glasses, we both enjoyed the crispy fried pork belly with papaya salad - the well-balanced fish sauce-based dressing undressed on the tongue to reveal a fiery, birdseye chili underlayer that left a sharp tingle on the lips. We also sampled the cute, pop-straight-in-your-mouth corn cakes and chicken and prawn wontons, both accompanied by a not-too-sweet chilli dipping sauce. And I think this is what will set Thaikhun apart from any other Thai chains (plans are in place to extend the brand, in time) - the flavours are definitely, punchily Thai, but definitely not so transformed for European tastes that they become overly sweet, or indeed, weakened versions of traditional dishes.

As if all this wasn't enough, halfway through the evening we were treated to some 'entertainment' that turned out to be a special performance by three lovely Ladyboys. The dances were just as you'd expect from that now-famous export - fun, flirty and with just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek glitz. As I am due to experience the new Ladyboys of Bangkok show in a couple of weeks' time, I giddily enjoyed the performance as an appetiser. Mr Nicole, on the other hand, wasn't as impressed, claiming, "I could put on a costume and dance like that". Hmmm. I'll leave my reply to your imagination...

I suspect that Thaikhun will be a roaring success. The design manages to be both rustic and chic, and the food, judging by the standard of the canapes, will be authentic, but also fresh and inspired. For an establishment named 'Your Thailand', Thaikhun succeeds in fondly reminding its customers of their travelling experiences, or inspiring them to visit. As I am soon to become one of these very backpackers, Thaikhun's offical launch party considerably raised my excitement levels as I anticipate eating and drinking in places very similar, if not slightly more rustic. After all, as an addition to Manchester's Thai cuisine scene, you can hardly beat a glowing endorsement by the acting Ambassador for Thailand, can you?

Saturday, 7 June 2014

St Helen's Farm - A Fridge Full of Goaty Goodness

I've always had something of a soft spot for the humble goat. I think this dates back to a visit to a farm when my mum gamely posed for a photo in front of the goat pen, oblivious to the fact that a stealth ninja goat had snuck up behind her and was contentedly consuming the sleeve of her coat whilst she beamed at the camera; they also have nice faces, and are very cute when they are small. More than once I have considered getting a couple of pet goats, who could earn their fill of man-made materials by keeping the lawn at a manageable level and perhaps handing round a few canapes at barbecues.

Goats also make a whole range of tasty food items, as evidenced by the box of goat-based goodies that arrived the other week from St Helen's Farm. Based in York, St Helen's Farm was founded in 1986 and now supplies a whole range of fresh products from their own goats - you see one of them here. Her name is Goatee, and she had made and intrepidly escorted a selection of milk, butter, cheese and yoghurts across the Pennines for me to try. I already knew that I loved goat's cheese, and the two packs she brought were no exception - these were of a firm, Cheddar-like consistency, one mild and one mature, and have been used for cooking (they melt beautifully) and, erm, eating straight out the pack (they work pretty well for this as well).

The real revelations, though, were the butter and the yoghurt. Some people are suspicious of goats' milk products on the basis that they just "taste a bit goaty"; I reckon that this butter (seen here for demonstration purposes - I would obviously NEVER normally put THIS much butter on my toast) with its satisfyingly salty tang would convince any of the doubters. The yoghurt is naturally thickened and uses two litres of milk to make one litre of yoghurt - and it is properly, so-thick-you-can-barely-get-it-off-the-spoon amazing. Even the fat free one is good, and it's not often one can say that. I've been drinking the skimmed milk in my tea (from my "I Love Goats' Milk" mug) but have yet to try the semi-skimmed and whole milk - I reckon the latter will make for a nice rice pudding with a little honey though (more rice pudding news as it happens).

People are increasingly turning to goats' milk products as an alternative to cows' milk for health reasons - it contains different proteins and smaller fat particles, making it easier to digest and suitable for a range of conditions including IBS, bloating and eczema. I have none of these (except the bloatedness, but that is linked more to greed than specific dietary requirements), but actually prefer the taste of goats' milk products to some of their bovine counterparts. These are lovely products made by happy goats who graze on a range of flavoursome food such as red clover (no mention of Mother's Red Jacket), and this comes across in the taste and texture of everything I tried. So thank you Goatee for making all of this for me - if you would just stop posing and crack on with producing some more please...

- St Helen's Farm products are available in a number of supermarkets - a full guide to product availability appears on their website. They sent me the products to try free of charge but asked for genuine feedback and are responsible for the fact that I am now hooked on goats' butter and yoghurt.